Only with You (The Best Mistake #1) - Page 19

“I’m pretty sure I’m the last woman on earth your brother would be interested in.”

Gray’s eyes flew to Sophie. An interesting choice of words. Was she saying that she would be interested if she thought he was? He silently begged her to meet his eyes so he could read her expression, but she didn’t look away from Jenna.

“Huh,” Jenna said, apparently realizing that she’d pushed the conversation as far as it could go.

Gray’s shoulders had just started to relax when his sister piped up again. “Hey, Soph, you should join us for dinner on Friday.”

He pinched the bridge of his nose. This was too much. He could barely handle Sophie nine-to-five during the weekdays. If he had to start seeing her on weekend evenings, he’d lose his mind.

“Oh, I couldn’t interrupt family time,” Sophie said.

“Please, you’ve seen this ‘family.’ We’re hardly the Brady Bunch. An outsider helps smooth the waters. Plus I need another girl to keep me company while the two of them argue about baseball.”

“She’s right, it’ll be fun. And Gray’s a fantastic cook,” Jack said, giving Sophie a soft elbow in the side.

Gray choked. “Who said I was cooking?”

Jack shrugged. “You’re good at it. And we all know Jenna isn’t civilized enough for any decent restaurant.”

“Hilarious, Jack,” Jenna purred. “Sophie, did you know we had a comedian in the family? But Jack’s right. Dinner at Gray’s sounds great.”

“Of course it does,” Gray muttered. “All you have to do is show up and drink my wine.”

“Exactly. So, Sophie, you in?”

Gray spared his assistant the briefest of glances. “I’m sure she has other plans on a Friday night.”

Sophie’s blue eyes locked on his. “Actually I don’t. And dinner sounds great. I’d love to come.”

Shit.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Sophie stood outside the condo building of one grumpy Grayson Gregory Wyatt and wondered at what point she’d completely lost her mind.

She also wondered what kind of uptight fool advertises a full name like Grayson Gregory on their building call box.

I’m going to kill Jenna.

Gray’s sister had only been in town for a week, but Jenna had firmly inserted herself into Sophie’s life as though they’d been lifelong friends. Shopping trips, happy hour at the local wine bar, spa day…

And now this.

She’d known exactly what Jenna was up to when she’d suggested dinner. Sophie was a little sister herself. She knew all about the set-up-the-big-sibling routine. Sophie had gone through a brief phase of matchmaker, trying to set Brynn up with the wrong men.

She knew firsthand that these things never went well.

But Gray’s eyes had been begging her to decline.

So of course she’d had to accept.

Plus, the three of them clearly didn’t have the whole “family” thing figured out. Not that the Daltons were perfect, but at least they didn’t avoid conversation with one another. If Gray was left to his own devices, he’d end up treating the twins like either children or clients.

If anyone needed to build solid familial relationships it was Gray Wyatt.

But what had sounded like a harmless idea on Tuesday was a lot more daunting when she was actually standing in front of her boss’s condo building on a Friday evening.

Sophie thought uncomfortably of the last Friday night she’d spent with him in the office. She certainly didn’t need a repeat of those uncomfortable emotions.

At least tonight the twins would be there as a buffer. No chance of her getting the hots for her sulky employer with his siblings looking on. She glanced up at the high-rise condo building. It looked like a museum. No doubt, the interior of his condo would be more of the same. Monochromatic, cool, and tidy. Boring.

Still, a promise was a promise, and so here she was. Sophie slowly reached out and punched the button next to his pretentious-as-shit name. Dinner in a restaurant would have been awkward enough, but actually going to her boss’s home officially crossed the fragile boundary between professional and personal. She had no idea why Gray had agreed to it, but it could have something to do with the fact that Jenna had the personality of a Rottweiler and biceps like Jillian Michaels. One did not mess with her master plan.

A flash of sanity demanded that Sophie turn and run, but then she heard Gray’s rough voice on the tinny intercom.

“Yeah?”

“It’s me,” she said.

“Sophie?”

“Um,

no, this is Mimi, the hooker from Vegas? You called for a genital massage?” She smiled at the elderly couple approaching the building, hoping they were hard of hearing.

“I’m so amused,” Gray’s voice crackled through the intercom. “I hope you like Top Ramen, because that’s all you’re—”

Sophie punched the call button again to end the cheery discussion and scooted in the front door behind the couple. They turned to size her up, and she gave them her sweetest smile. “You don’t mind if I slide in behind you, do you? My boyfriend’s a little grumpy because I forgot it was our one-month anniversary. Honestly, how is a busy woman supposed to remember these little things?”

The blue-haired woman’s expression softened, and she patted Sophie’s shoulder. “Oh, don’t you stress about a thing, dear. Men pretend they don’t care about that stuff, but they’re so sensitive! Walter here pouted for a nearly two hours when he thought I’d forgotten our forty-eighth wedding anniversary.”

Walter harrumphed, sending his white mustache twitching. “That’s bollocks. I was just upset that the tennis tournament got canceled for those blasted cheerleading competitions!”

“I didn’t exactly see you reaching for the remote to turn the station away from those scandalous little skirts.”

Walter flushed slightly. “My arthritis was acting up, Joyce. You know I can’t just go gallivanting around the living room trying to find the remote.”

The little woman rolled her eyes at Sophie. “You see what I mean? They’re sensitive. Now you go right on up there and make amends with your man. Cook him a nice meal and maybe give him a little nookie!”

Sophie smothered a smile at the throwback to a different era. She didn’t have the heart to tell Joyce that “her man” would actually be cooking her dinner, and that nookie was so not an option.

Saying good-bye to the now-bickering couple, Sophie found her way to Gray’s apartment, giving a perky knock. She tugged nervously at the hem of her tight white sweater. She knew this wasn’t a date, of course. But maybe she’d taken a few extra minutes getting ready.

And the results were worth it. She was wearing her cutest (and tightest) jeans, and the sweater she’d just picked up from Nordstrom. The cashmere kept it classy while the tight fit made it sexy. Not that she wanted to be sexy. He finally answered the door, and all thoughts of her own appearance vanished.

Because Gray looked…gorgeous.

She realized this was the first time since dinner at her parents that she’d seen him outside of a suit, and while he admittedly filled out a suit very nicely, casual was a surprisingly good look on him. He wore dark jeans that were either designer or personally made for him, because he looked like a freaking male model. The gray sweater was layered over a crisp white shirt and made his eyes look, well…actually they looked downright stormy and pissed.

But it was a sexy picture nonetheless.

“How’d you get into the building?”

“It’s called charm—I’ll write a report on it on Monday so you can begin to understand the how the concept works. Short version: you smile at people and they like you more.”

His scowl deepened and he braced an arm on the doorway, blocking her entrance.

“Okay.” She sighed. “I can see I’m moving you along too fast on the path toward not being a dick. Lesson number one: invite me in.”

“Jenna’s not coming.”

Sophie blinked at that. “Why not? Is everything okay?”

“Oh, everything is fine. Just some apparent stomach bug,” he replied.

She chewed her lip. This was not ideal. Although Sophie was technically here to provide a buffer among the Wyatt siblings, what she really needed was a buffer between her and Gray. This would be all the more awkward with just herself, the two brothers, and no fellow female influence.

“I hope she’s okay,” Sophie said. “You and Jack must be bummed to not see her on her last night in town.”

“Oh, I’m not so sure Jack won’t be seeing her,” Gray muttered, still not inviting her in.

Sophie had gotten pretty good at interpreting this man’s moods and mumbles, but she was now officially confused.

“What’s going on?” she asked pointedly, folding her arms self-consciously across her chest.

“We’ve been set up,” he said, not meeting her eyes. “Jack thought dinner tonight was canceled, and I don’t think Jenna ever had any intention of showing up.”

Suddenly everything became clear in Sophie’s

mind, and she couldn’t help but laugh at how well Jenna had played her cards. The setup was even more blatant than Sophie had expected.

“Why are you giggling?” He glanced at her sharply, as though surprised to see her still there.

“Just admiring your sister’s tactics. Well, the least you can do is let me in. I’m guessing you cooked for four, right? You may as well feed me.”

“I’m not so sure this is a good idea,” he said.

“Oh, it’s a horrible idea. This will be a complete disaster,” she agreed, slipping under his arm and scooting into his apartment. “But it’ll build your character.”

“Fine, but don’t expect me to entertain you. You eat, then you leave. I have things to do.”

She laid a hand on his arm. As expected, he stiffened, but she kept her hand there anyway. She couldn’t help it. She was by nature a warm, affectionate person, and she was tired of always trying to hide that around him. Besides, if anyone needed a little dose of harmless human contact, it was this man of stone.

“I’ll leave if you want,” she said, meaning it. “But I’ll be stuck going home to a dinner of cereal, and whatever you have cooking in here smells amazing.”

He stared at the spot above her head before nodding shortly. “Sorry about this. I never meant for you to get caught up in the disaster that is my family dynamics.”

“Relax, Gray. I’m glad to be here. Besides, it might be good for you. I know too well that one-on-one interactions are not your forte. Practice can’t hurt.”

Sophie froze, realizing how that had sounded. She had practically proposed a date. With her boss. Who didn’t like her.

She ordered her impulsive brain to back the heck out of this impending disaster. But then Gray frowned. And for some reason, his reluctance solidified her resolve. She had promised to help him with his innate lack of social skills. Who said that had to be exclusive to the office?

And besides, she was starving.

“You’re my assistant,” he said. “This just seems…wrong.”

“Don’t be such a stiff. It’s just one night, and nobody has to know. On Monday you can go back to grumbling orders to Ms. Dalton. And if you’re on good behavior tonight, I may even start calling you Mr. Wyatt in the office as a little reward.”

“Indefinitely?”

“Let’s say for one day. For Monday, I promise to be perfectly respectful and boring. If you can go the entire night maintaining the facade that you’re interested in me for more than my filing skills, then I’ll even call you sir. Deal?”

His eyes lit at the idea of a challenge. “You’re meaning to tell me that you’ll actually be docile and unobtrusive for an entire day if I pretend you’re my girlfriend?”

Sophie’s heart seemed to skip for a split second at the word “girlfriend.” That hadn’t been what she’d meant by this little experiment.

And yet she still wasn’t turning and running. She pasted a smile on her face as though she played these kinds of charades every day.

“Eh, let’s say almost-girlfriend,” Sophie said with a nervous smile. “Let’s pretend it’s the third date, and that we’re moving in the direction of a committed relationship.”

There. That seemed harmless enough.

He ran a hand over his short dark hair. “This is insane. I don’t know why the hell I agreed to this dinner in the first place, and now I’m stuck with you.”

“That’s lovely. I have to say, you’re a pretty awful boyfriend so far.”

“Sorry,” he said gruffly. “That was rude. I’m never at my best around you.”

His eyes seemed to warm a moment, and be still her little stupid heart, but she almost wished that he was interested in her for real. Then again, he hadn’t even once glanced down at her strategic sweater. Clearly he wasn’t interested in her as a woman.

So much for my investment in a push-up bra that weighs more than a Thanksgiving turkey, she thought.

“Lesson number two,” Sophie said, setting her purse down and shrugging off her coat. “Always offer the lady a drink.”

She started to set her coat on top of her purse, but he snatched it from her and hung it in the hall closet. “Very good,” she said. “That was a test.”

“It’s not like I’ve never had a guest over before. I’m not completely without manners.”